Opinion

Ridge resident's perspective shared

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In the Oct. 7 issue of the Snoqualmie Valley Record, Mr.

Art Skolnik wrote a letter to the editor challenging the wisdom of putting

the Community Center on the Ridge. He suggested two options that would

"put the Community Center in a more central location for the growing

population of the Upper Valley." The first option involved the existing

North Bend Community Center; and the second, the Christmas Tree Farm,

"adjacent to the new play fields being acquired by Snoqualmie."

Page A40 of the May 1998/1999 Snoqualmie Valley phonebook has

a wonderful map called "our hometown" which — I believe —

strongly supports Mr. Skolnik's conclusions. There is only one

problem: Snoqualmie Ridge does not exist on this map.

As of October 1999, 167 new Ridge homes are occupied by

roughly 418 new residents. In other words, 22 percent of the city's current

population lives on the Ridge. Therefore, it may be important to note that the

geographic center of the city of Snoqualmie is radically shifting. In

a few years, 80 percent of Snoqualmie's population will reside on the Ridge.

If not for the projected 5,125 new residents on the Ridge, plans for

a Community Center would not exist. Nor would plans for the newly

"acquired" ball fields at the Tree Farm.

(WRECO allegedly could not find 15 suitable acres — 1.1 percent of

1,345 Ridge acres — on which to build them. Consequently, they will now be

"centrally" located, four miles from the Ridge and 2.5 miles from

downtown North Bend.)

Weyerhaeuser did not generously give away the above assets

(along with: a new sewer treatment plant, water supply, parkway, extensive

parks and trails, flood study costs, police station and future fire station [located

per Municipal Code], etc., etc.) out of the goodness of their heart. They are

a profit-making company. These costs were passed onto the

new homeowners on the Ridge. In other words, the Ridge homeowners

absorbed the costs for the vast majority of these new assets. At the very

least, the Ridge residents should be allowed a say in how they are distributed.

Especially when redistributed after the purchase of their homes.

The costs of the above assets made the houses on the Ridge

unaffordable to many existing residents.

Therefore, the Ridge residents will also absorb disproportionate costs for a

50-unit, low-income, sweat-equity (Habitat for Humanity-type) project in parcel

Y1 on the Ridge. On August 9, 1999, WRECO and the City of

Snoqualmie renegotiated portions of the low-income housing plan and added

50 houses to the existing 2,000 on the Ridge (thus my projected

population of 5,125).

For the last decade the Ridge has been inextricably linked

with WRECO, builders, and King County. It is important to note

that Weyerhaeuser is slowly moving off the Ridge and your new neighbors

are moving in. We are not the enemy. We love this town and very much wish

to be a part of it. Please include us when you discuss the needs and welfare

of the "community as a whole."

Matt Larson

Snoqualmie

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